I'm going to give you a little bit of homework here. There's a fundamental rule of screenwriting that says "start a scene as late as possible; get out as early as possible." Or to put it in layman's terms...
STOP FUCKING OVERWRITING AND OVER-EXPLAINING EVERY! LAST! DETAIL!
*whew!* That actually felt good. Maybe it was just venting that, maybe it was that effigy of bad spec scripts I just burned, but I genuinely feel better.
Anyway, though pretty much every good movie or TV show should stand as an object lesson of this, there are probably few shows on TV that better demonstrate this than Law & Order. It's pretty much pure procedural, which means every scene is driving the story. The show is more plot-driven than character-driven, so that makes the series a perfect teaching tool for noting how little we actually need to see in order to follow the story. The plots are so dense that every scene has to cut right to the point, while still managing smooth transitions.
Unfortunately, the original Law & Order is no longer in production, but since its retooling, Law & Order: LA has been almost as good and this weeks episode "East Pasadena" can stand with the best of the classic series. Even better, this episode not only has one of the series strongest plots, but it manages a pretty good character-driven subplot for Detective Morales (Alfred Molina.)
If you have some free-time and keep track of how short the individual scenes are and how much information is conveyed in them.
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